Horticultural Sciences Department

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Research

1

Studies are underway to identify optimal production strategies for the cover crop sunn hemp as a value-added crop for Florida producers. The decompostion rate of plant residues incorporated at maturity, residual soil nitrogen, and potassium requirements are being monitored to provide growers with recommendations for optimal seed production and soil condition following cover crop incorporation.

"Selecting a sunn hemp cover crop genotype for weed suppression and seed production" (funded by Southern Region SARE).

2

Organic fertilizers vary widely in nutrient content and require microbial transformation prior to availability for crop uptake. The kinetics of microbial activity depend on environmental factors and as such, nutrient availability is highly variable and difficult to predict. This project is underway to validate the nutrient mangement program by a local organic farmer.

"Monitoring nutrient availability and leaching below the root zone in organic vegetable production" (funded by Southern Region SARE).

3

In this study, crop rotations varied from simple monoculture to complex polycultures. This was the first effort at determining the effect of crop diversification on a range of parameters, including nutrient cycling.

"Crop diversification complexity and pest and beneficial organism communities in humid tropical and sub-tropical climatic regimes" (funded by the USDA Integrated Organic Program). 

Research opportunities for prospective graduate students:

Our Department offers competitive stipends with additional opportunities for funding following application into the graduate program. I am currently seeking a PhD student. Please contact me if you are interested in learning more about research opportunties in sustainable horticulture at the University of Florida.